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Wildlife Disease Association 68th Annual International Conference

The following is the first in a short series of posts from IWRC staff and board members who attended the WDA Conference at Granlibakken Resort in Tahoe City, California USA in August 2019

A wildlife lovers dream; a 15 minute stroll from Granlibakken to downtown Tahoe City

I’ve recently returned home from the 2019 Wildlife Disease Association Conference, my first one. I highly recommend this meeting to any academic or disease minded rehabilitator (2020 Spain, 2021 Madison, 2022 Georgia, 2023 Australia). The first keynote, by Dr Pieter Johnson focused on community ecology as a tool for understanding parasite interactions and anticipating disease risk. Traditionally these scientific ways of thinking had little overlap. This talk set an excellent conference tone of collaboration across artificial boundaries and a true One Health view of the world.

The attendees were diverse in field, location, language, and age. I was able to spend time with IWRC staff (Julissa), board (Brooke Durham, Mandy Kamps, Pat Latas), members (several!), and instructor (Rob Adamski) and our NWRA colleagues. I was also able to meet with rehabilitators from South Korea (전북야생동물센터 Jeonbuk Wildlife Center) and Chile (Refugio Animal Cascada) researchers in South Sudan, Bangladesh, India, Norway, and Australia, and bend the ear of regulators in several countries about the benefits of wildlife rehabilitation.

Integrating wildlife rehabilitation data for early and enhanced detection of health threats

It wasn’t just me talking about wildlife rehabilitation, though I certainly did enough of that in the corridors and at meals. Several speakers wove wildlife rehabilitation into their talks, even more obtained data from animals brought in to wildlife rehabilitation. Most thrilling was the work that Terra Kelly, Pranav Pandit and their team did, collaborating with WRMD to create a first of its kind early alert system. With buy-in from multiple California rehabilitators, they integrated with the data wildlife rehabilitators were already entering to see trends in disease that spanned beyond a single rehabilitator. Imagine, 2 murres here, 5 there, another 6 over there, and pretty soon a pattern emerges (or doesn’t).

Wildlife rehabilitation centers are “uniquely poised to advance knowledge of threats to wildlife health and populations"

-Pranav Pandit

My takeaway from the 2019 Wildlife Disease Association Conference “Fostering Resiliency in a Time of Change” was that we need a true One Health approach to disease management for the good of all species, and that wildlife rehabilitation must be a player on the ‘big stage’ of global health.

- Kai Williams, Executive Director 

Spotlight on new board member Deborah Galle!

Please share an early/childhood experience that was pivotal to your personal relationship with wildlife.  

As a child, I LOVED wildlife. I would find toads, salamanders, snakes, bumble bees and hold them all! I was fascinated by their behaviors and could watch them for hours. When I was about 7 years old, I would visit two swans across the street - my home was in an area with a large marsh and wooded area. I would whistle for them and the pair would fly in with a big swoosh. They even allowed me near their nesting area and would approach me as I sat on the seawall and playfully nip at my sneaker tips. I never touched them, I simply watched them for hours. When I was about 8 years old, I brought a snake home and convinced my mother that I needed her/him for my science project. She allowed me to keep the snake for several weeks until the project was completed. The snake would sit in my hand and wrap around my fingers. Unfortunately, my Uncle came by and identified her/him as a baby Copperhead. I begged him for a 10-minute head start before telling my mother, so I could run out to the marsh and woods to release her/him, safely! The snake never attempted to bite me.

I wanted to be a veterinarian from the time I learned to say the word!

How did you initially become involved with IWRC and why did you choose to become involved on a board level?  

I became a member of the IWRC after seeing them at my first NWRA Symposium. I Purchased the Book Wildlife Rehabilitation: A Comprehensive Approach, and found it to be easier reading than the NWRA manual. I have served on the CWRA Board of Directors for a number of years. I have considered submitting an application to the NWRA or IWRC but was on the fence about which one. I will most likely relocate out of state at some point and I was looking for a responsible organization to continue to serve. I believe the IWRC is emerging as a viable (and valuable) resource for wildlife rehabilitators. The IWRC won out over the NWRA, although I appreciate both organizations, immensely!

Describe a specific area of interest or a particular passion within the scope of IWRC's mission.

Increasing the demographic of the IWRC and the continuation of the dissemination of accurate information,  as we learn more about wildlife and that information changes.

Describe a skill that you have that has been surprisingly useful to your work as a wildlife rehabilitator? (or as an IWRC board member?)

My communications training has been a huge asset. Client service skills were developed during my time in retail management. I was fortunate to have been a communications and benefits manager for Time Warner. This allowed me to hone my skills as an educator, coach and presenter. These skills enable me to assist other rehabilitators and the community with regard to wildlife (Put the rabbit back!).

Describe a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

I can learn anything. That is why my professional experience covers an array of industries. The most significant accomplishment would have to be my transition from retail into corporate. I had all of the skills for retail and almost none of the technical skills required for Corporate. I was sent on a “practice” interview and met with a VP of Human Resources. After the interview, I was to report back to the temp agency and they would compare notes with the VP. The VP requested me as her new temp employee and argued with the temp agency who had the client’s interest in mind and wanted a good match. The VP won and I began working for her. Two weeks later, Time Warner purchased the company. I completed my temp assignment and was contacted by Time Inc.’s VP of HR who requested that I take on another temp assignment implementing a new call center during open enrollment that year. Once completed they refused to let me go and I was promoted several times during the next 10 years. It was a great place to work during those years!

If you could choose, who would you have as a mentor?  

I appreciate all of the Board members, but I know I asked whether Dani would be available. I was delighted when she agreed to be my mentor!

If you were to do something else professionally, what would it be?

Wildlife or Forensic Biologist.

If you could be a wild animal, which would you be?

Owl

What is the thing for which you have waited in line the longest?

Concert tickets - Bruce Springsteen

What excites you so much that it keeps you awake the night before?

Knowing that I will be travelling to see my family!

Describe any companion animals that you share your home and life with.

I have a 10 lb rabbit named Ollie. He is nine years old and a big love. He loves to simply hang out and take in whatever is going on around him.

I share a couple of rabbits with friends because mine was boarded and bonded with their pets. It did not seem fair to pull them when so happy!

I have a rescue Chihuahua who was left abandoned in an apartment in CA  with her sister, for two weeks before Animal Control found them. She was emaciated and near death and brought to a kill shelter for humane euthanasia. She was pulled at the last minute by a rescue organization (She was not even a year old!) and flown to CT.

2019 Board Updates

IWRC's annual board and officer elections are complete. Breakdown of the results:

 

Member Election Results

Jayanthi Kallam *new board member

Pat Latas *new board member

Dani Nicholson (reelected)

Board Appointed Individuals

Deborah Galle *new board member

Kristen Heitman (reelected)

Mandy Kamps (reelected)

Ashraf NVK (reelected)

Officer Positions

Adam Grogan has moved from his previous post as to president-elect to President and Sue Wylie our previous president has left the board after serving her full time allotment.

Our other officer positions remain the same as 2018 with Mandy Kamps - vice-president, Kristen Heitman - secretary, Dani Nicholson - treasurer.

 

Meet all our 2019 full board of directors

Words from Pat Latas DVM – IWRC’s newest board member!

Please share an early/childhood experience that was pivotal to your personal relationship with wildlife.  

I’m not sure that there was one experience, I was involved with the natural world from my first memories and before--there is a family photo of me in diapers bent over watching some ants...I suppose the moment I was old enough to recognize another being, looking at and evaluating me as an equal, was when a one-footed crow came to visit our backyard over several years. Who knows how it came about, but my family called him Jack, and he came to recognize his name and often brought friends to visit. As a child, I did not know he was “just a crow”.

How did you initially become involved with IWRC and why did you choose to become involved on a board level?  

In the late 80s and early 90s, only a few years out of vet school, I had the fortune to drop into a position that allowed me to serve as a wildlife veterinarian at an active and progressive wildlife rehabilitation organization. As a field biologist by training, prior to vet school, it was a hole in my professional life that was filled. At the time, I was very concerned about reptile and amphibian standards of care, welfare and rehabilitation methods. IWRC shared the same concerns and was responsive to ideas and suggestions. I was very impressed, and still am. My goal is to participate at board-level in advancing the course and mission of IWRC, to bring my skills and experience to be utilized for the intelligent and scientific advancement of the health, welfare, and well-being of all wildlife in human care.

Describe a specific area of interest or a particular passion within the scope of IWRC's mission.

Rescue, rehabilitation and release of wild psittacines and passerines, are of intense interest to me. However, the consequences of anthropogenic damage to habitats, entire ecosystems; the impact of animal trafficking on population status, health, welfare and well-being on individuals, flocks, and of all wildlife and flora requires urgent attention from all of us, regardless of specific interest. Wildlife rehabilitators act as first-responders in this global crisis, and I am dedicated to helping foster data collection, progressive and modern techniques, bridging gaps with other disciplines.

Describe a skill that you have that has been surprisingly useful to your work as a wildlife rehabilitator? (or as an IWRC board member?)

MacGyvering skills (both physical and intellectual) have been of great value, when added to professional and technical training.

Describe a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

Bringing awareness of cruelty to wildlife and avians to the professional animal cruelty community.

If you could choose, who would you have as a mentor?  

So many people to choose from, and I submit two: Dr. Sylvia Earle and my 3rd-grade teacher, Miss Clothier.

If you were to do something else professionally, what would it be?

I would study terrestrial crabs.

If you could be a wild animal, which would you be?

I would probably be a wild Rosy-faced Lovebird, screaming in the desert. Bossy, matriarchal, loud, obnoxious, stubborn and passionate in defense of friends, family, and conceptual philosophy. I aspire to be other beings but that is likely the truthful representation. I would like to be a sweet, lovely kakapo; but….

What is the thing for which you have waited in line the longest?

I waited more than 5 years to be selected as a nest-minding volunteer for the Kakapo Recovery Team in New Zealand.

What excites you so much that it keeps you awake the night before?

Working with wild psittacine issues of any sort. Planning about how to ameliorate the lack of interest and public knowledge of cruelty to urban wildlife. Thinking about the impact of natural and anthropogenic disasters on rehabbers, rehabilitation facilities, animal and plant populations and ecosystems, and what my personal role can be to greatest effect.

Describe any companion animals that you share your home and life with.

An intense, serious, older wild-caught Timneh African Grey Parrot, about whose life I wonder and I shudder to think of his experiences from a captured and abused chick, through his adulthood in captivity, and various owners. He now is released from slavery and owns himself.

A middle-aged Congo African Grey Parrot, beautiful and sweet. He knows nothing of the wild except what is in his genes.

A middle-aged Lineolated Parakeet, whose grandparents were illegally trafficked into the USA, inbred, and sold as objects.
An intelligent, demanding and personable Blue-crowned Conure.

All of them, and the many birds that have shared my home were the result of confiscation, re-homing, abandonment, relinquishment due to poor health resulting from captivity, adopted from poor conditions, poverty, lack of veterinary funds, ignorance. I wish that each and everyone one of them had been allowed to flourish as the member of a wild flock and unmolested for their natural lifespan. I am dedicated to seeing that this dream will come true for all wildlife.

Tidbits from board member – Brooke Durham

Please share an early/childhood experience that was pivotal to your personal relationship to wildlife.  

I grew up in Eastern Kentucky. When I was about 10 years old my grandfather found a pair of (almost) fledgling Eastern Screech Owl chicks at the family lake house in the spring, when he arrived to get things in order for the upcoming summer. He brought them to me and instructed me to feed them for a few days until they were strong enough to fly into in the forest that surrounded my childhood home. I’ll never forget the sound they made when I opened the box to peek in; that screech seemed to terrify everyone - except me. In a few days’ time, they were off on their own and I was hooked, or “taloned”?

 

How did you initially become involved with IWRC and why did you choose to become involved on a board level?  

Early in my wildlife rehab volunteer days I joined IWRC so that I could access the reduced fee on their online classes for Pain Management, Wound Management, Fluid Therapy as well as published materials and eventually the Basic Wildlife Rehab Course. IWRC has always exemplified the profession of wildlife rehabilitation to me, and I’m honored to help serve the membership as a board member so that they can access the same resources for the benefit of the animals we serve.

 

Describe a specific area of interest or a particular passion within the scope of IWRC's mission.

There are certainly members of the board and membership that have more in-depth knowledge of the medical and biological aspects of wildlife rehab than I do. There was a time when I believed those would be my strongest assets in this field, but when the opportunity-task of setting up and administering my own organization presented itself, I set about learning all I could to ensure its success. That determination led me to pursue a comprehensive Nonprofit Management Certificate through the University of San Diego. I’ve learned so very much about the governance of a nonprofit through that program, and combined with my experience as a wildlife rehab volunteer and involvement with unrelated professional organizations as a committee member - I think I come with strong, broad foundation of knowledge to work from.

As for a particular passion; I have experienced so many periods in my wildlife rehab career where I felt isolated and alone, where I saw the obvious effects of inter-agency and even inter-personal failures to communicate and cooperate that left the wildlife patients on the losing end. This, in turn leads to a high rate of rehabber burn-out. I really feel it is my purpose to foster better communication, understanding and cooperation between all involved. It’s all about collaboration!

 

Describe a skill that you have that has been surprisingly useful to your work as a wildlife rehabilitator? (or as an IWRC board member?)

My background in art has come in handy when I’m explaining a new enclosure design to my husband. He works in construction so we make a good team.

 

If you could choose, who would you have as a mentor?  

A difficult choice between sweet, calm but utterly relentless Jane Goodall and charming, wild and equally determined Steve Irwin. Either way – it would be a “wildlife warrior”.

 

If you could be a wild animal, which would you be?

Flamingo – the strutting, dancing and the fabulous plumage make this an easy choice for me.

 

What is the thing for which you have waited in line the longest?

1987 University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Midnight Madness when I was about 11 years old. I was a gymnast/cheerleader at the time and while our moms held our place in line a group of my friends and I found a patch of grass to tumble and stunt to occupy the hours of time in line. While tumbling I (just slightly) dislocated my elbow, but when I felt it and grabbed my arm, I popped it right back into place. Nonetheless - we went to ER got an x-ray, ice pack and a sling and got back in line in time to enter and enjoy the night. A close 2nd would be standing 1st in line for Janet Jackson concert tickets.

 

What excites you so much that it keeps you awake the night before?

Any wildlife “release day”, though it’s usually an even mix of anxiety and excitement.

 

Describe any companion animals that you share your home and life with.

English Bulldog – Krystal

French Bulldog – Romeo

A blind French Bulldog/Boston Terrier (puppy mill rescue) – Poppy

2 Goats – Luke & Sombra + an assortment of chickens & domestic ducks

California Desert Tortoise – Jean-Louis Agassiz

About 50 Koi + 10 Red-eared Slider turtles

Umbrella Cockatoo who has refused all names we’ve offered except for “Cockatoo”

European Starling – Clarice Starling (Silence of the Lambs)

Yellow-naped Amazon (parrot) – Slider

Lilac-crowned Amazon (parrot) – Hilo

Green-cheeked Amazon (parrot) – Cali

2 Red-masked Conure (parakeets) – Nene & Conner

2 Blind Green-cheeked Amazon (parrots) – Justice & Stevie (because: Justice is blind, and Stevie Wonder)

 

Also, our rehab facility is on my home property so at any given time there could be just about any kind of animal - in any kind of crate - in any room or area of the house. Neonate baby birds in portable brooders go on the nightstand beside my bed so that I can monitor them during the night and administer their first hydration in the early morning. I literally live in a zoo.

 

Tidbits from board member – Suzanne Pugh

Please share an early/childhood experience that was pivotal to your personal relationship to wildlife.  

As a child there were so many stories and story books my mom shared with me, Tarka the Otter, Watership Down, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, not to mention the bedtime stories my mother made up! However, there was a brilliant service hosted by the British Post Office, that cemented my love of animals. It was a weekly children's bedtime story read by Johnny Morris, a television and radio presenter for the BBC and a great story teller. Morris narrated many animal related stories including Tales of the Riverbank – about an assorted collection of animal friends and each week a different animal story could only be heard by telephone. I loved sitting with my mom, dad and sister each Sunday night waiting for the time to dial “150” and listening to these exciting tales.

 

Suzanne and Darren at Mauna Kea Observatory, Hawaii, 2017.

How did you initially become involved with IWRC and why did you choose to become involved on a board level?  

Back in 2004 I was volunteering on a committee to investigate the potential for a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Kelowna, BC. I became aware of IWRC through this network and subsequently attended a Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation course. Since then I have remained an IWRC member since that time and in the following years attended conferences and completed additional training workshops through IWRC.  I went on to lead the BC SPCA Kelowna animal shelter for 5 years, where wildlife intake rose year on year and aware of the limited resources available for wildlife, I was driven to join the board of directors to further the cause.

 

Describe a specific area of interest or a particular passion within the scope of IWRC's mission.

Avian – So few resources are available for the care, rehabilitation and release of wild birds and public education and awareness is key particularly to support the issues faced during baby bird season. More skilled professionals are required who are proficient in identifying species to provide triage and treatment to injured birds, who are candidates for rehab and release.

 

Describe a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

During my time as Branch Manager, BC SPCA Kelowna, I was responsible for the health and welfare of almost 8000 animals – farm, domestic and wildlife. I remain immensely proud of this work.

 

If you could choose, who would you have as a mentor?  

So many –Sir David Attenborough leaps to mind but if I had to choose just one it would be The Dalai Lama. He once said something that rings true for me for all sentient beings - “Our prime purpose in life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”

 

If you were to do something else professionally, what would it be?   

Without a doubt it would be animal related. I enjoy working closely with people and animals and would like to help bridge gaps to improve welfare for working animals around the globe, particularly donkeys, to support efforts to help communities who rely on these animals as a mode of transport and to provide resources to raise donkey welfare standards, in turn supporting the owner’s livelihood. Alternatively, I would like to support communities who rely on livestock within wildlife habitats, to collaborate on solutions to reducing wildlife conflict and finding ways to co-exist.

 

If you could be a wild animal, which would you be?

An Orangutan

 

Describe any companion animals that you share your home and life with.

Daisy and Ted

My husband and I are guardians to 2 Labrador dogs. Both are adopted and are both on their 3rd and permanent home with us. Daisy, a black lab, is now 15+ years and Ted our chocolate lab is 10yrs, going on 2! Daisy has been with us since she was 18 months and has hiked, biked and camped across North America. She has always amazed us, whenever we reached the top of a mountain during a hike she would appear to sit at the top and gaze intently out across the vista. Daisy is now relaxing in her senior years. However, for Ted, every day he wakes - life is one big party! He brings lots of fun to our household, we have many “Ted-ventures” and we wouldn’t change either of them for the world.

2018 Board Changes

IWRC's annual board and officer elections are complete. Breakdown of the results:

 

Member Election Results

Lloyd Brown (reelected)

Brooke Durham *new board member

Laurin Huse (reelected)

Board Appointed Individuals

Shathi Govender *new board member

Adam Grogan (reelected)

Suzanne Pugh *new board member

Officer Positions

Mandy Kamps is our newly elected vice-president.

Adam Grogan has moved from his previous post as vice-president to president-elect.

Our other officer positions remain the same as 2017 with Sue Wylie - president, Kristen Heitman - secretary, Dani Nicholson - treasurer.

 

Meet all our 2018 full board of directors

Tidbits from board member Brenda Harms

Please share an early/childhood experience that was pivotal to your personal relationship to wildlife.  

My mother always tried to save the birds our cat caught (this was back in the stone age).  She’d feed them white bread soaked in milk and keep them in a shoebox (well, at least she got the shoebox right!).  Not a single one ever survived and she cried every time one would die.  I learned from her that humans are responsible for the creatures in our midst, and we need to try our hardest to do right by them.  My mother would have become a wildlife rehabber if the opportunity had been available and then, perhaps, some of those birds would have survived.   

How did you initially become involved with IWRC and why did you choose to become involved on a board level?  

I’ve always been involved with the nonprofits in the town I live in.  Once my children got older, I became interested in learning more about nonprofit governance and fundraising and even took some fundraising classes.  When my teenage daughter saw a Dawn commercial that featured Tri State Bird Rescue, I found myself traveling to Delaware with her to take Tri State’s oiled bird course.  It was there that I first met people who were wildlife rehabbers.  An internet search led me to IWRC’s Virginia Beach Symposium in 2009.  At a symposium roundtable, I shared my desire to combine my law degree and interests in nonprofits with my love for wildlife, and before I could say “Jack Rabbit,” I was on the board.  I became Secretary of the board the following year.  My seven years on the board have been immensely fulfilling.

Describe a skill that you have that has been surprisingly useful to your work as a wildlife rehabilitator? (or as an IWRC board member?)

Volunteering at our local rehabilitation hospital, I’ve discovered that very few people know how to defrost a refrigerator/freezer quickly and thoroughly.

If you could choose, who would you have as a mentor?  

I’d love to be mentored by Dr. Jane Goodall for the sole purpose of learning how to be so brave.   Her leap from vision to execution and on to perseverance fills me with awe.  

If you were to do something else professionally, what would it be?   

I’m the only board member who isn’t a wildlife rehabber (I’m a lawyer), so I hope that one day I’ll actually become one.  

If you could be a wild animal, which would you be?

Oh, I’d have to be an Osprey.  Watching them and wanting to protect them was the reason I became involved with wildlife preservation in the first place. I’d summer in New England and winter in Rio!

Tidbits from board member Adam Grogan

Please share an early/childhood experience that was pivotal to your personal relationship to wildlife.

I remember we used to find hedgehogs in the garden at our south London home, as well as one particular experience of finding a baby bird on the pavement when coming home from school. I must have been about 7 years old and not knowing any better took it home. Unfortunately, it died the next day.

How did you initially become involved with IWRC and why did you choose to become involved on a board level?

 

I attended a conference in 2001 in Florida and became hooked. I couldn’t attend the IWRC meeting every year but came whenever I could. I got involved with the Board because I was interested in training and working towards having agreed standards in wildlife rehabilitation across the globe.

Describe a specific area of interest or a particular passion within the scope of IWRC's mission.

The training is the area I am most interested in. I have seen so many examples of bad welfare in rehabilitation, and I think that having agreed-upon standards and trainings are the best ways to address these issues.

Describe a skill that you have that has been surprisingly useful to your work as a wildlife rehabilitator? (or as an IWRC board member?)

I have participated in many projects involving the radio tracking of mammals and this is a skill that is not often used by the rehabilitation community. Again, it is one of my passions to have more rehabilitators work towards a better understanding of the animals they rehabilitate by monitoring them after release, and radio tracking is one way of doing that.

Describe a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

Achieving my current position as Head of Wildlife at the RSPCA would definitely rank highly here.

If you could choose, who would you have as a mentor?

I was lucky to have Dr. David Macdonald as a mentor when I was working with his research unit in Oxford. If I was to choose another, then I would choose Dr. Jane Goodall.

If you were to do something else professionally, what would it be?

I would still like to work outside, but if not wildlife orientated, perhaps a ranger or something similar?

If you could be a wild animal, which would you be?

Otter

What is the thing for which you have waited the longest in line for?

I honestly can’t remember!

What excites you so much that it keeps you awake the night before?

Traveling, especially flying!

Describe any companion animals that you share your home and life with.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any companion animals with me at home, but I do get my dog fix in the office. Our office has a dog friendly policy, and there are a number of dogs that I see regularly, including a beautiful Irish setter called Bridie. She was rescued from awful conditions by the RSPCA and has now been re-homed by one of my colleagues. She is very photogenic and has a wonderful temperament!

Tidbits from board member Ashraf NVK

Please share an early/childhood experience that was pivotal to your personal relationship to wildlife.

Like all children, I was naturally attracted to animals, but more than others. I lived in a semi-urban environment and we had free-ranging backyard poultry. I would stand at the entrance when the door is opened to get my favourite hen in hand before she darts off for foraging! Thus began my contact with animals, with chicken first and then cats.

How did you initially become involved with IWRC and why did you choose to become involved on a board level?

(i) to act as an ambassador to bridge the gap between rehabilitators of Indian subcontinent and the west

(ii) to bring science into wildlife rehabilitation for wildlife conservation and welfare worldwide

(iii) to work towards bring into focus the wildlife rehabilitation efforts of tropical Asian countries

(iv) to consider introduction of one or two new courses in IWRC run rehab courses, like conflict animal management and orphan large mammal hand rearing, especially for participants from the tropics

Describe a specific area of interest or a particular passion within the scope of IWRC's mission.

IWRC’s mission matches with Wildlife Trust of India’s (the organization I work for) ‘Wild Rescue’ division’s goal of “improving the welfare of displaced animals while enhancing conservation and pioneering science based rehabilitation, conflict mitigation and wildlife health.” To get involved with IWRC’s activities in every possible way to achieve its mission of providing science based education and resources on wildlife rehab,

Describe a skill that you have that has been surprisingly useful to your work as a wildlife rehabilitator? (or as an IWRC board member?)

One skill (natural and nurtured) that stands out is designing animal enclosures based on their behavioural needs and the manager’s managerial requirements.

Describe a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

Being the leader of the team that brought science-based wildlife rehabilitation program to India. The Asiatic black bear rehabilitation project, being the first successful one, stands tall among all the achievements in the field of wildlife rehabilitation.

If you could choose, who would you have as a mentor?

I can’t name anyone in particular, but someone like my uncle Mr. Abdullah (who is no more) who inspired me to study well during my school days. He was the person who turned my life around!

If you were to do something else professionally, what would it be

Architecture. Actually my skills during school days was on designing buildings, parks, mosques. I was good at drawing as well, but there was no one to spot this talent and suggest Architecture as a profession. In India, even now, most people can’t think of any profession, besides medicine and engineering!

If you could be a wild animal, which would you be?

A squid in the Antarctic waters!

What excites you so much that it keeps you awake the night before?

So many things, but the most exciting of all could be an important cricket match involving India!

Describe any companion animals that you share your home and life with.

As said earlier, I love cats. I had few of them during my childhood, but not now because my wife does not like cats. Unfortunate, but true! Needless to say that this is the biggest sacrifice I have made in my life for her sake!